The Astoria, Pokesdown

Opened in October 1932 this was another cinema which had a narrow entrance with the auditorium at right angles to the main Christchurch Road. At first it was independently run but was soon taken over by the London showman Frank Okin operating through Frank Okin Cinemas. He also had an interest in the nearby Savoy in Boscombe. The Astoria was considerably larger than the Savoy and a Compton organ was installed although it was removed after the 2nd World War.

By the 1960's it had been taken over by Harry Mears. What independent cinema in the town hadn't?

Projectors were BTH.

It stopped being a full time cinema in 1964 when part time bingo commenced. This usually meant the end of film presentations was imminent and sure enough, soon afterwards it was on full time bingo under the Mecca banner.

Mecca ceased operating at this venue some time in the 1990's. It ended up as The Astoria Bingo run by an independent operator. The building was demolished in 1997 or 1998.

Daylight streams into the auditorium for the first time in over 60 years. The roof is already off and demolition of the side walls and proscenium is imminenet.

Bingo clutter still on the stage awaiting the wrecker's ball.

The entrance on the main Christchurch Road,what was left of it, anyway remained as it was part of the shopping parade. Even that has been turned into accommodation of some kind.

Flats known as Queensland Court now occupy the site of the auditorium. The back of the parade of shops is on the left.

All text and pictures in this article copyright John Thornley, Bob Dobson and others where credited.

Bournemouth Cinemas

The Continental Cinema, Winton

The Picture House/Savoy, Boscombe

The Ritz Cinema, Winton

The Astoria, Pokesdown

The Embassy/Palladium/ Classic, Fisherman's Walk, Southbourne

THE Roxy, Holdenhurst Road, Springbourne

The Regal, Parkstone